Calling coyotes to within rifle or shotgun range is tough enough that I would
never go out and attempt to call coyotes armed only with stick-and-string. But
I've taken a half-dozen coyotes with bow-and-arrow over the years by taking
advantage of chance encounters with them while bowhunting deer.
As coyotes becomes increasingly numerous all across the country, bowhunters
are going to see more of the critters while bowhunting deer. If you are
prepared for these chance encounters, you stand a much better chance of taking
a coyote or two with bow and arrow. Here is what I think is important to get
the job done.
Lure Them With A Diaphragm Call
It has been my habit for many years to carry a diaphragm turkey call in my
pocket whenever I am out bowhunting deer. Mostly I use it for talking back to
turkeys. It is good practice, and as far as I know anyway, I have never scared
away a deer while messing with the turkeys. But that same call, is what I use
to try to coax any coyotes I might see to within bow range. It does not work
all of the time, but it works often enough, that you might want to learn how to
make some rodent-like squeaks on a mouth call.
It's not difficult. Simply apply more tongue pressure to the latex and blow.
Within a few tries, you will be able to make that call sound like a mouse,
rabbit, rat, or vole in big-time trouble. Coyotes are opportunistic critters.
To them, that sounds like the dinner bell ringing. I've managed to call in
about half of the coyotes, which I have called to while bowhunting other
species, with this method. That's pretty good odds in my book!
Once the coyote heads your way, you want to do two things. First, stop
calling. Coyotes are very adept at pinpointing the precise source of the sounds
they hear. If you insist on calling as the coyote gets closer, there is a very
good chance that the coyote will pick you off, or at the very least become
suspicious of that mouse squeaking 20 feet up that oak tree you are sitting in.
Draw Your Bow Early
The second thing to do when a coyote is headed your way, is to draw your bow
just as soon as the coyote drops into a depression, gets behind a thicket or
deadfall, or passes behind anything else, which will prevent the coyote from
catching your movement as you draw. Coyotes are right up there with old does,
call-shy gobblers, and bull elk when it comes to detecting the slightest
movements. If you wait to draw until the coyote is in range, odds are good,
that the coyote will spot the movement and blow out of there before you ever
get off a shot.
And when you do call in and kill a coyote with your bow and arrow, go ahead and
take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You deserve it my friend!
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Gary Clancy writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. Gary has hunted whitetail deer in 20 different states and provinces. He has harvested many record-book animals, and presented hunting seminars from Tennessee to Wisconsin. Gary also has authored or co-authored six hunting books, four on whitetail hunting.